After more than a year of intensive preparation, ILVO, together with AVEVE, Boerenbond, CRV, DGZ and Milcobel, is launching a unique SHARE platform for advanced data sharing in the Flemish agro-food chain. The platform is called DjustConnect, a name that alludes to performance and efficiency.
Ingenious are the control functions for the farmer that are built into the architecture and the management. He is the owner of the data and decides whether it can be shared and with whom.
DjustConnect is the 'highway' along which you can exchange data in a smooth, regulated manner. The sector now has a central basic tool to develop more accurate and smarter applications. "Such apps provide us with administrative simplification, management support or technical advice, for example. The fact that data can now be shared more easily benefits the farmers themselves, as well as businesses throughout the chain," say the founding agricultural cooperatives.
Watch the video below to see how DjustConnect works.
n 2018, the initiators in the 'DataHub for Agrofood' research project took the first steps towards advanced data sharing. With almost €500,000 support from EFRO (European Regional Development Fund) and with an even higher own investment by AVEVE, Boerenbond, CRV, DGZ and Milcobel, the digital architecture has been established today and IT provider Cegeka is working on the technical realisation.
At the launching event, the founding partners made it clear that DjustConnect will be sustainably anchored as a fully-fledged permanent public-private body. The expansions, maintenance and permanent ILVO supervision are included in a future plan that far exceeds the duration of a research project.
The basic requirement for full data sharing is trust between the various parties. The structure of DjustConnect contains a strong guarantee for this, which is based on an international code. At the beginning of 2018, on the initiative of COPA and CEMA, among others, a code of conduct was drawn up with guidelines for the use of agricultural data: the EU Code of Conduct on agricultutal data sharing. It unambiguously recognises the farmer as the owner of the raw data. In Flanders, the founding partners of DjustConnect use this Code as a guideline. It has been translated into a dashboard on each farmer's computer.
Concretely: The farmer receives requests (to share data) in which data users explain in understandable language what they want to do with the data. In each case, he decides with a simple click whether he will share his data in that specific case, or not. Only the 'ticked' data can be put on the motorway. The farmer retains an overview via his dashboard. His property rights are centrally, permanently and technologically secured.
The effectiveness of DjustConnect lies, among other things, in its 'one-to-many data sharing system'. On the one hand, data suppliers share their data with many (potential) users via a one-time connection. On the other hand, the one-time connection action gives the data users (potential) access to data from different suppliers. This makes data sharing technically easier.
The data exchange platform has a strong security and high performance. There are watertight controls to transparently ensure that all players respect the rules of the game.
The central role of the public research institution ILVO guarantees the neutrality of DjustConnect. "That is important for the users, suppliers and owners," say the initiators.
A datasharing platform is nothing without data. The founding members AVEVE, Boerenbond, CRV, DGZ and Milcobel are already committed to encouraging their members (farmers) to take an open look at the data-sharing requests they receive. The first connecting companies and the first apps that run on DjustConnect are situated in the dairy sector. From there, a certain critical mass is quickly created, which attracts many other companies and farmers.
Of course, the ambition is to quickly expand to other sectors.
All data users from the agrifood sector are welcome. The only condition is that they respect the rules of the game. ILVO sees to it that no one is excluded from participating.
The actual construction was awarded to the Flemish IT company Cegeka via a European tender procedure.
Rob Gielen (Cegeka): "Cegeka has a strategic focus on the Agri&Food sector, in addition to several other sectors. We strongly believe in the potential of data platforms such as DjustConnect, because they act as a lever for more innovation in the sector. We are happy to put our shoulders under it. DjustConnect is a textbook example, also for other sectors, given the balance between all parties involved, the strict security and strong focus on the end-user experience."
The actual development of applications based on the data mergers is deliberately not done by DjustConnect. This way the platform remains a neutral service at all times for other, commercial players in the data-sharing story. But it is clear that DjustConnect will be an important catalyst for data innovation in Flanders. The combination of existing data leads to smart innovative solutions. The first applications (apps) are already expected in the spring of 2020.
Companies interested in bridging the gap between their data and DjustConnect are advised to contact the ILVO coordinator, Stephanie Van Weyenberg.